In Transition: EPA Administrator and Interior Secretary

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mary D. Nichols

Current job: Chairwoman, California Air Resources Board

Credentials: The 63-year-old was appointed to head the board by GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2007. She served as assistant administrator for the EPA's air and radiation program in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997.

What she offers: As the official in charge of the nation's first program capping greenhouse gas emissions, Nichols boasts a wealth of experience on the top issue facing the next EPA administrator. She also has plenty of Washington experience, as well as the added bonus of having been appointed by a Republican governor.

Quote: "I think he needs to pull a team together and get advice from them, and it's going to have to involve talking to leadership in Congress as well as to the new members of the administration, because he doesn't have a lot of time to put a package together. And I know he understands [the] need to make sure that all the bases are covered. You've got to include energy and economic development and the environment in one piece," she said Nov. 19, discussing the need for President-elect Barack Obama to act quickly on global warming.

Lisa P. Jackson

Current job: Chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine

Credentials: As chief of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Jackson worked on such issues as redeveloping environmentally blighted "brownfields" to open space preservation. She worked at the EPA from 1987 to 2002, when she joined New Jersey's DEP as assistant commissioner. She earned a master's degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University. A member of Obama's transition team on energy and natural resources, Jackson, 46, would add another African American to the president-elect's Cabinet lineup.

Quote: "It is so important that everyone takes part in recycling. Not only does recycling save natural resources and cut down on waste, it bolsters our economy as it reduces the greenhouse gases that cause climate change," she said at an Oct. 15 DEP news conference.

Raul M. Grijalva

Current job: Representative, Arizona's 7th District

Credentials: Grijalva, 60, chairs the House Natural Resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands, and boasts a 95 percent lifetime score with the League of Conservation Voters. He oversaw a federal study that traced the loss of Western hunting habitat to oil and gas development on public land and has questioned the cheap grazing permits the Interior Department has leased to ranchers in the West. As a co-chairman for Latinos for Obama, Grijalva would be in a strong position to get a Cabinet post.

Quote: "Global warming is upon us. We need clean, renewable fuel, and we need it now. It will be a tough transition, but we have to start right now. We are ready for this challenge. We have the know-how and a highly skilled workforce, and we will create millions of new jobs in the process," he said during a Jan. 18, 2007, House debate on energy legislation.

Mike Thompson

Current job: Representative, California's 1st District

Credentials: A hunter and angler who grows chardonnay wine grapes on his property, Thompson, 51, has secured wilderness protection for more than 275,000 acres on the California coast. He has also pushed for more stringent handling of electronic waste and has tried to mediate conflicts over water use among farmers, fishermen and Indian tribe members in the Pacific Northwest. More than 30 hunting and angling groups sent a letter to Obama urging him to appoint Thompson, who also has the support of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and California Reps. George Miller and Anna G. Eshoo. Thompson co-chaired Sportsmen for Obama during the campaign.

Quote: "I'm not saying you've got to stop farming and let the water go wherever it wants to go," but "you don't want to kill off all the wildlife to promote farming," he said in January 2006, backing federal funding for conservation projects to ease the demand for water.

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